When I tell people that I deal poker for a living I get one of two reactions: either they think I am the most interesting person in the world, or they completely shut down and act as though I am pure evil. I have learned over time to be very choosey on whom I bestow this information on, and tend to tell newly-met people that I am a college student. That way I can feel them out and see which way they sway before entering those risky waters.

The only problem is that I love poker, so eventually it comes out. To me, poker presents a level playing field for us non-athletic types. It is a way of getting out my competitive urges without having to fall flat on my face. While most sports have one winner in the end – and sometimes it takes all day to decide who that is – poker has a winner just about every two minutes. A complete amateur can sit down at the table, face the elite and still come out the winner – even if it is only for one hand.

There are a few things that new players can do to safeguard themselves from the pitfalls that are associated with playing poker. Before entering a poker room it is always a good idea to create a budget for yourself. Know how much you are willing to spend and stick to it. It's a bad idea to go into a gambling situation planning on winning. It is better to think of it as entertainment, and the money you lose as money budgeted for that purpose. In other words, you are spending your money on having fun and that should be your focus from the start. If you are spending money you can't afford, then are you really being entertained?

I hope that I have shown some of you the positives of poker. I know that there will always be people out there who think that gambling is evil, but to them I say‚ “Life’s a gamble; you tempt fate every time you walk out your front door.” For the rest of you, I can't wait to stare you down from across the poker table.

If learning to play poker sounds like fun, or if you know how to play but are on a small budget come out and play in the Double Dime Game on Sundays from 4 – 7 at Poker Hut inside the Pryor Creek Bar in Huntley.  Chips in the Double Dime Game are just 10c and you can get a whole rack for $10. Or use your VIP points to buy a gift certificate for a $10 rack of chips.

If you think you’re ready to try your luck at the big game you can use your points to enter to win a $20 gift certificate for use in their $2-$6 Thursday & Sunday night game.

Poker Hut: Where people sit down as strangers and leave as friends!

Here is another quick tip about the six most common "tells" in poker: